The Tsarina’s meddling in military strategy (1915-16)

The following extracts from correspondence from Alexandra to Nicholas in 1915-16 contain evidence of the Tsarina’s meddling in military strategy. There are also several references to advice from Grigori Rasputin, referenced here as “Our Friend”:

November 16th, 1915

“…He brought your secret march route… to me and I won’t say a word about it except to our Friend to guard you everywhere…”

November 19th, 1915

“…Our Friend, whom we saw yesterday evening, when he sent you the telegram was afraid that if we had not a big army to pass through Roumania, we might be caught in a trap from behind.”

November 28th, 1915

“…Now before I forget, I must give you over a message from our Friend, prompted by what he saw in the night. He begs you to order that one should advance near Riga, says it is necessary, otherwise the Germans will settle down so firmly through all the winter that it will cost endless bloodshed and trouble to make them move. Now it will take them so aback that we shall succeed in making them retrace their steps he says this is just now the most essential thing and begs you seriously to order ours to advance. He says we can and we must, and I was to write it to you at once.”

January 4th, 1916

“…Our Friend is always praying and thinking of the war. He says we are to tell him at once if there is anything particular, so she did about the fog, and he scolded for not having said it at once, says no more fogs will disturb.”

June 17th, 1916

“…He [Rasputin] begs we should not yet strongly advance in the north because, he says, if our successes continue being good in the south, they will themselves retreat from the north or advance and then their losses will be very great if we begin there, our losses will be very heavy. He says this is an advice.”

August 7th, 1916

“…I overtired myself so remain quiet today and only go to A. this evening to see our Friend. He finds [it] better one should not advance too obstinately as the losses will be too great. One can be patient without forcing things, as ultimately it will be ours; one can go on madly and finish the war in two months, but then thousands of lives will be sacrificed, and by patience, the end will also be gained and one will spare much blood…”

September 29th, 1916

“…I begged our Friend to particularly pray for the success of our new plans, and he does so and hopes God will bless them…”

October 6th, 1916

“Our Friend says about the new orders you gave to Brusilov, etc. ‘Very satisfied with Father’s orders, all will be well’. He won’t mention it to a soul, but I had to ask his blessing for your decision.”

October 7th, 1916

“…Our Friend is much put out that Brusilov had not listened to your order to stop the advance says you were inspired from above to give that order and the crossing of the Carpathians before winter and God would bless it. Now he says again useless losses.”

October 9th, 1916

“Our Friend worries that one did not listen to you [Brusilov] as your first thought was the right one, and a pity you gave in, your spirit was right wishing the change…”